The Force of the Horse

Wild Horses, Politicians and a whole lot of Nothing

by R.T. Fitch

What the Heck?It seems that each and every year the few good guys and gals in Washington introduce bills to save our wild mustangs, stop slaughter and ban the transport of our equine, American heritage to kill pens across the border.  And every year the bulk of them make it through our humane and animal friendly Congress only to become stuck in committee due to pressure from a special interest group or a politician who’s intentions are less than honorable.  It’s like the movie “Groundhog’s Day”, we are stuck in a cycle of always doing what we did and continually getting what we always got.  What the heck?

So we advocates have beseeched the American people to make a stand, contact your elected officials and tell them that you want to be heard, your opinion matters and that you will hold them accountable for not only their actions but for their inaction.  And so many of you did; some with moderately positive results and others with abysmal reactions.

That’s our topic today, just what does said elected official pay attention to, if anything, and how do they respond to a painstaking effort to prepare a well written letter of protest?

Below is just one example of many that we have received, here, at Force of the Horse©.  It’s really rather heartbreaking but the reply to the reply is even better.  It moved us so much that we thought we would share it with you, complete with the authorization of the original letter’s author.  Her name has been deleted to protect the innocent but the letter rings true, loud and clear.

First the official reply to her letter asking for intervention to halt the unlawful and uncalled for round-up of the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustangs of last September.  Her request came well in advance of the Sept. 4th assault and was sent with hope for assistance.  Please read on:

September 23, 2009

Ms. Goodie Tooshoes

010 Rainbow Rd
Oz, Montana 59999

Dear Goodie:

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range 2009 Gather.  Ensuring that Montana’s natural resources are appropriately managed is one of my top concerns, and I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this important issue.

As you know, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently completed its gather of horses on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.  Under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM and Forest Service are responsible for managing wild horses on the Pryor Range, as well as for maintaining the ecological health of the Range itself.  The Gather is one tool the BLM uses to accomplish these goals.

Again, I appreciate your thoughts about management of the Pryor Horse Range.  Please feel free to contact me in the future with any additional questions or concerns you may have.


Max Baucus
United States Senator


Now it’s Ms. Tooshoes turn to reply:

Dear Mr. Baucus:

You insult my intelligence.  My letter I faxed to your office dated August 25th was imploring you to stop the Pryor Mountain Horse gather because there were some flagrant discrepancies in how the BLM was handling this issue and also non-compliance with many NEPA regulations.  I spent hours composing my letter, doing exorbitant amounts of research  . . . working diligently in pointing out the various issues of concern which should have been of YOUR concern as well.  In return I get a “canned” letter telling me what I already know . . . . the gather is over and the BLM is in charge of our public lands.  REALLY?  Had you truly read my letter, which I am now convinced you did not, I think you would have been very much aware of the fact that I pretty much had all of that figured out . . . . and then some.

The fact that I heard nothing until one month later from my congressional leaders and NOTHING from the Department of Interior or BLM actually makes me physically ill.  Need I remind you that not only are you an elected official who works for the public but the BLM is entrusted with “our” public lands and the wild animals that live there.  No one listened to the cries of an outraged public when this gather was proposed . . . the BLM is a rogue organization who is basically rounding up our wonderful American icons (the mustang) and managing them to extinction.  But hey, let’s be fair, grazing rights and mineral rights are so much more important aren’t they?  Uranium mining is at the top of the list so let’s get those pesky horses off the land even though they have lived there for over 200 years.  Oh, and Mr. Rancher, well sure you can run your 1,000 head of cattle on the BLM public lands even though we were told that this land would not and could not support 190 horses.  (Did you know that Jim Sparks, the Billings BLM Field Office Manager actually said the reason they were removing these horses was because they were starving?  Did you know that I had been up to visit the horses a month prior to the gather and the grass was lush and the horses were fatter than my very own personal horses?)  Lies, lies and more lies.

I was not asking for you to agree with my position but I naively assumed that those in government, who are working for the public, would take some time to actually investigate and question a government agency gone wrong.   Silly me!  As I counted every horse that ran into the chute and lost their freedom forever, that will be the number of nails in the coffin of my current elected official’s political careers.  It is my solemn promise that as bereft as our western wilderness now is of our wild mustangs, so too will be my “X” next to your name on my election ballot.

Ms. “T”

Hats off to Ms. “T” and all of you who fight the good fight.  Keep those faxs and letters coming and don’t forget to send an email, too .

May the Force of the Horse© be with you!

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26 replies »

  1. I, too, have emailed, called and faxed, to no avail. I have sent letters with lots of information and receive the same canned response. It’s infuriating.

    At this point, I can’t even reach Senator Schumer’s office at all. The phone rings and rings and then you hear Senator Schumer’s voice tell you that someone will be with you shortly. Well, shortly is at least a 10 minute wait or longer, and I work. This has been going on for over two months.

    And, asking to speak to the animal welfare aide, seems to be a “no no”. In either Senator Schumer’s office or Senator Gillibrand’s office. When Hillary Clinton was a senator, I was at least able to speak to her animal welfare aide. Not that I was always happy with the response, but at least I could speak to the person!

    I do believe our Senators have forgotten that they work for us! We have elected them and we can not vote for them, which is what I will be doing in New York when their terms are over.

    And, the fact that one person can put a “hold” on a bill, should be outlawed. This government is supposed to be “of the people, by the people, for the people”. I don’t think it is any longer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And one more thing! Thousands upon thousands of calls were made to President Obama to stop the Pryor Mountain roundup. Open administration? What a joke!

    You can’t get a message to him, or these messages have fallen on deaf ears.

    How much longer will it take for us to end horse slaughter or to end these horrific roundups of fat and happy horses?


  3. I have one question for Mrs.”T” If you believe that Mr.Baucus balked at your first letter, why would think that he would read your second? Your letter was eloquent and concise but these people do not care. They send you a standardized “canned letter”.

    Nice try Mrs “T”, but you will have better luck having a bag of gold drop at your feet while leaving for work today than you will with the BLM feeling any compassion for your concerns.


    • Hey Mustang Jack — I can’t answer for Ms. T but I know from my own frustrated efforts of trying to contact and get a response from my elected officials, I am betting that the 2nd letter was more of a cathartic, theraputic vent of steam for the writer! Ms. T seems like an intelligent woman and I’ll bet she already realized it would have no known effect on the brain pan of the elected official but still pounded out her rage on the keyboard of her computer. So sad that this is what we all have been reduced too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll agree with the therapeutic aspect of the letter.
        However there is an old Native American saying that goes..If one tries scream at a deaf man in an empty room, they too will soon become deaf!


  4. They send the same automated letters, they see horse activist, you get it. I bet you could curse and call them names they don’t read them, you would still get the same letter. Did we all read what Salazar wrote ? it is saying nothing. Start wild herds in the east and mid west, not a bad idea for a petting zoo. They will be not be able to re produce. How about the round ups are they going to stop. NO, must not upset the ranchers and friends that want them out of there. He only made these statments because George Knapp is going on TV Saturday night. Laura Allen summed it up perfectly here I think it’s time for the horses to go on the hill, a parade of them. Signs, flags the whole works. We have to make a big statement, and we have to get the bills passed, before they destroy them all. Salazar stated “more than 33,000 wild horses live in 10 western states” the Bureau now maintains nearly 32,000 wild horses and burros in holding, including more than 9,500 in expensive short-term corrals. I don’t think so, I think he is lying or maybe he don’t know how many wild horse lives they ruined. Can’t afford to feed them so let’s round up more….something is very wrong here.


  5. I have also tried to contact the animal welfare aid in my Reps
    DC office and the Senators in my state of WA. I have yet to talk to any of them. The people that answer the phones don’t know anything. It seems pointless to even call. I send a fax, and I have sent hundreds, to no avail. They don’t answer mine any more. I don’t even get canned letters any more. What needs to be done is VOTE THEM OUT!! House Speaker Reid may not win his state election in 2010 he is very unpopular in Nevada. If he loses that might put a dent in the horse round ups in that state.

    Liked by 1 person


      It appears that head of the BLM Ed Salazar the is now going move horses to attempt to create a smoke screen to hide horses in holding..Where Are They Now? is turning into …WHERE ARE THEY GOING??.

      Well now that the hornets nest is stirred up and the hive is active lets really shake it up by pressuring for answers. Dont allow the BLM to slip them through the cracks because when the time comes and they open up to an audit it will take a lot longer for one to be conducted. That is precisely when the BLM will try to buy some more time. Salazar is more than likely scrambling horses to private ranches and make it essentially impossible to get them counted. A federal warrant will have to be sought in order to gain access to these properties and the horse will be hard to track after that. Once the horses are out of public holding facilities they will be easier to move with other livestock heading to slaughter.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s just one sick game after another. Just when you think you’ve got the snake in a bag, he hisses and slithers out to bite you in the rump for the kill.


  6. It was not thru Govt. offices that Wild Horse Annie took the first step in saving the mustangs.It was the people the children in the classrooms it was the media that took note in the unique lady and her plea.Reaching out to the govt any govt is a waste of time and mustang lives.Gather your dollars where ye may and buy land and the horses to put on it otherwise they are extinct!


    • HUH? Thank you for the history lesson.. Your solution is a bit eccentric. Buy some land and release them on it or else the horses are extict? I don’t know if I want to laugh or reach through the screen and break your fingers for typing that. That is about the most absurd overview of the plight of the wild horse that I have ever read.. Go get some rest Ellieroo..You have had a very hard day..


    • Ellieroo,

      You are right on the mark with Mustang Annie and the thousands of school children & parents. Annie was a voice in a wilderness crying out for help. The 1960’s hand written letter writing campaign by the school children was brought up on Howling Radio last week as an example to follow by Makendra Silverman & Valerie Kennedy. Craig Downer even brought up Marguarite Henry’s book on Wild Mustangs of the West. I have been trying to get my foot in the door with my local elementary schools to talk about the urgency of the Mustangs and Burros, the ROAM Act and S.727. I have talked with 3 different persons in 3 different schools so far. The kids could use the work for a grade in history, social studies, english, handwriting, current events, creative writing, journaling, etc.


  7. Not if viewed tongue in cheek Jack. Think of all the land once held in trust for the horse by the BLM. Think of all the horses that once ranged over that land they are both gone because of the mismanagement of the BLM.Neither is going to be replaced the land has gone to thers the horses have gone period. The idea of buying land and putting the horses on it are not mine but M. Pickens so reach for her fingers please!


  8. I have been one step ahead of everyone else with the notion of reintroducing already captive horses onto private land for twelve years now.And to this day no one, and I mean no one has done what I have done with six horses which I have adopted. many commend me for it but yet no one has inquired about it. I wonder why that is Elliroo. Have any idea.
    But to tell people that they will have to go purchase land and adopt horses or else they will be extinct is a real stretch of your imagination.

    You have no idea who I am or what I have been through regarding our the wild horse. My personal experiences with them have more than likely surpassed 99% of many wild horses experts out here. And that includes on both sides of the issue. Yet I continue to still have an sense of faith that advocates will stay fight to prevent what you are predicting as the inevitable..


    • Hey Mustang Jack,

      Hands down, you are a respected expert on Mustangs & burros. But, why the temper tantrum on Ellieroo’s hide?

      “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand.”
      Native American Saying

      A little compassion and education goes a long way when bringing man/woman into the tribe.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jack nor do you know me or the 8 mustangs I’ve worked with or that I’ve been in this fight Since I met Wild Horse Annie decades ago. Neither of us knows the other but we both seem to be in the same fight for the horses.I have pushed the wrong button in your mind as once again the land for horses is not my idea.I would much rather they were left alone.The Steens Mt. gather is close to my heart I went on line and tried to reach out to people involved with Steens horse fresponse none,sad! So Jack Bravo for what you hasve done for the horses but don’t think you are alone!


  10. Time out…lot’s of passion here but let’s keep it focused on a “way forward” in our fight to ensure that our Mustangs get returned to “their” land and let’s get these round-ups stopped, post haste!!

    This is all public and I am certain that those who would like to see us stumble would find bickering in the ranks to be amusing.

    Let’s move on…


  11. We’ll do our best, Mustang Jack, but I’m running out of ideas except just continuing to spread the word.

    I agree that a federal warrant is just about what it will take, but I honestly don’t have a clue as to how we can achieve that.

    I’ll keep on trying to reach the public, but there is SO little time….


  12. I need to know something:

    If you take a bunch of “wild horses” and sterilize them all, put them out to pasture/preserve/whatever, what is it that people are supposed to pay money to see? There won’t be any cute little foals running around playing, the stallions won’t be running around playing, and the band stallions won’t have breeding bands at all, so there won’t be any stallion figthing.

    Or am I wrong? Will they act like the wild bands in the Cloud show? That is what people will expect to see.

    Please, wild horse experts, educate me on this, so when I write to the idiots (ohoh typo?) I’ll be able to educate them with the truth.


    • Roxy,

      Here is my point of view from my horsemanship experience. Perhaps R.T. or other bloggers will have more horse sense to pass on to you.

      If stallions are gelded and no mares go into season, there will be a tremendous loss of wild herd behavior not to mention the loss of horse life itself! The mustangs or burros will still be ‘wild’ in that supposedly no human hands will feeding, handling, gentling them. Then what are they called? Oh yah, FERAL! Back to square one we go.

      My concern that IF this is true about BLM wanting to create herd area in the midwest or eastern states for public viewing, then the mustangs are reduced to a circus act for some sort of monetary gain (maybe park entrance fees?). Then the BLM & dept of Interior come out looking like knights in shining armor. “Look! WE saved the mustangs & burros! Look what WE did for them” diverting the public’s attention from the underhanded truths. The mustangs and burros will be forced to adapt to unfamiliar habitat. I understand there are already wild horses in the Appalchians. Are they gonna throw unfamiliar horses in established herds and expect everyone to coexist?

      The newly introduced mustangs could even be considered a nusiance by locals already using the land for other practical purposes. Many locals may have no love or regard for this special species of wildlife about to become extinct. I’m in the midwest. I know the mindset of the people (not trying to over generalize here). Wild DESERT burros are not going to be able to adapt in the midwest or eastern states without tremendous assistance.

      I don’t think for one minute these supposed new herd areas (far from mustang home territory) will be anything like the fantastic work done on behalf of the Ausseteague ponies and Chinoteague ponies. NO comparison whatsoever.


      • Morgan, Thank you, and I had not even thought of the “new” nusiance issue. I’m forming my mindset, my writing about this idiotic (ohoh did it again, bad fingers!)scheme to the powers that be, I feel very comfortable now about what I will be writing.

        I am further curious about opinions or at least researching and persuing making these horses national treasures or something like that. That would provide another layer of oversight from a different government agency with a different perspective.

        Though I know many of you think the government is one big chunk, having worked in that environement I can tell you absolutely there is competition between departments and divisions within departments with no love loss.

        Mostly I am convinced this DOI move is lame attempt to appease wild horse advocates, to get us of their backs – so make 2 times everything – calls, letters, postcards, e-mails = Support S 1579!


      • Roxy,

        If I have learned anything in the last 6 months, it is to dig deeper and look WAY past what is being presented in my immediate sight.

        You bet yer boots the DOI is trying to appease public pressure, thinking we all are small minded hicks who don’t check under every rock. They only gave us a new front to battle instead of swallowing hook, line and sinker. We are not being stubborn, narrow minded or small people. Just stick to the RIGHT plan started in 1971 Salazar & Abbey!

        Thanks for sharing your work experience in a government office environment. I try not to generalize my statements. It’s just like any other workplace. Good and bad in every place.


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